Ross County 1-1 Livingston

A second-half equaliser from Nicky Devlin, his first-goal for the club, meant it was a share of the spoils in Dingwall on Friday night after Oli Shaw had headed the hosts ahead.

With 300 Ross County fans in attendance as a further test on spectators returning to football grounds, it’s safe to say that both sides would have been happy to sacrifice the entertainment aspect of this game in return for three points.

The hosts were winless in five games, whilst the Lions had lost their last three, and both were fully committed to ending those poor runs in a full-blooded encounter.

Shaw’s clever header into the far corner from Stephen Kelly’s free-kick was the highlight of the opening 45 minutes. A foul by Devlin on County captain Michael Gardyne allowed Kelly to whip a low free-kick to the front-post and the former Hibs striker glanced a header into the bottom corner, leaving Stryjek helpless.

The County frontman then almost added an assist minutes later, when he pick-pocketed Ciaron Brown on the touchline and crossed for Ross Stewart, but he headered over the bar from close range.

Up until the opening goal however, Livingston had looked the more likely to open the scoring. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas smashed over a volley after an intelligent swivel to work the angle from a Ciaron Brown throw-in before Alan Forrest’s low drive tested Ross Doohan in the County goal.

And the Lions stepped up their intensity after the break and were rewarded after 56 minutes. A brilliant reverse pass from Steve Lawson sent Scott Pittman free on the left hand side and after his low drive across the face of goal was missed by Craig Sibbald, Devlin slid in to level, clattering the post in the process.

The Lions came close to edging in front when Craig Sibbald flashed another ball across goal from the right hand side this time, but it was just agonisingly too far in front of Forrest and Emmanuel-Thomas who were desperately trying to burst into the box.

After a slow start to the second half, the hosts responded after conceding and claimed for a penalty when substitute Regan Charles-Cook was involved in a tangle in the box but referee Kevin Clancy waved away the appeals.

Goal scorer Shaw then should have put the Staggies back in front after good work by Charles-Cook and Josh Reid down the left but his downward header skipped off the greasy surface and wide of the post.

A lot of huffing and puffing as the game fizzled out but the Lions put the run of defeats to an end, showing good character to come from behind in the Highlands.

Next up – a trip to take on Stenhousemuir in our penultimate Betfred Cup group clash at Ochilview.

Ross County: Doohan, Grivosti, Donaldson, Iacovitti, Reid, Paton, Kelly , Lakin (Tillson 85), Stewart, Gardyne (Charles-Cook 59), Shaw
Subs not used: Laidlaw, Tremarco, McKay, O’Connor, Vigurs, Hylton, Williamson
Goals: Shaw (28)

Livingston: Stryjek, Devlin, Brown (Ambrose 81), Guthrie, Lawson, Sibbald (Poplatnik 77), Bartley , Robinson, Forrest,  Pitman, Emmanuel-Thomas
Subs not used: McCrorie, Fitzwater, Mullin, Holt, McMillan, Tiffoney, Taylor-Sinclair
Goals: Devlin (56)

Referee: Kevin Clancy
HT: 0-1
Att: 300
Match Report: Dave Black


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